Hegra and AlUla: Rebirth of Arabia’s ancient crossroads

A view of the ruins of the ancient city of AlUla and the new city that stands adjacent to it. (Supplied photo)
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Updated 19 December 2019

Hegra and AlUla: Rebirth of Arabia’s ancient crossroads

  • KSA's Winter at Tantora festival will last over 12 weekends, drawing the world to AlUla from Dec. 19, 2019, to March 7, 2020
  • The archaeological sites of Hegra, the ancient Nabataean city in Saudi Arabia's northwest, will be opened to the public next year

RIYADH: Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world.

Few have been privileged to visit Hegra, hewn from the rocks of the Hijaz in northwestern Saudi Arabia two millennia ago and lost for centuries.


 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Now, in a stunning digital interactive exploration ‘The Rebirth of AlUla’, the Arab News is unveiling the spectacular rock-cut tombs of Hegra, and highlights efforts to transform the wider AlUla region into one of the world’s greatest cultural tourism destinations.

In 2020, the archaeological sites of Hegra will be reopened to the public, which had its first glimpse in many years through the 2018 Winter at Tantora festival. The celebration of art, music and heritage will draw the world once again to AlUla from Dec. 19 to March 7. Over 12 weekends of festivities, visitors will be treated to an eclectic mix of performers, including the Gipsy Kings, Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias, Craig David and Jamiroquai.

Saudi Arabia’s move to open up Hegra and the AlUla Valley restores a missing chapter in the history of the region and the entire world.

Ahead of the grand ceremony, the Arab News interactive ‘The Rebirth of AlUla’  - arabnews.com/alula – dives deep into its history, blending compelling storytelling and journalism, with stunning video footage, beautiful photography, animated graphics and rare footage and interviews. 




AlUla is full of archaeological treasures from the Dadanite, Nabataean, Roman and Islamic civilizations, nestled among beautiful desert landscapes. (Supplied )

Mada’in Salih was the post- Islamic name for Hegra, a lost city in the AlUla Valley. Like its famous twin Petra in Jordan, Hegra was built by the Nabataeans, who from about the fourth century BC to 106 AD controlled the profitable trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from east to west and north to south.

AlUla is full of archaeological treasures from the Dadanite, Nabataean, Roman and Islamic civilizations, nestled among beautiful desert landscapes. 




Nabatean-era tombs carved on limestone formations are a common feature in AlUla. (Supplied)

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, under its Secretary-General Prince Sultan bin Salman, nominated Hegra for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. The application was accepted, and Hegra became the first World Heritage property to be inscribed in the Kingdom.

‘The Rebirth of AlUla’ also throws light on the work of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), established in 2017, is working in partnership with the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), on “the transformation of the AlUla region into a worldwide cultural and touristic destination.”

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Decoder

Hegra

Hegra was a lost city in the AlUla Valley of northwestern Saudi Arabia, which became known as Mada’in Salih. Like its famous twin Petra in Jordan, Hegra was built by the Nabataeans, who from about the fourth century BC to 106 AD controlled the profitable trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from east to west and north to south.


Students in Saudi Arabia to continue remote learning in September

Updated 51 min 52 sec ago

Students in Saudi Arabia to continue remote learning in September

  • The new school year is due to start on August 30, 2020
  • Intermediate and high school students will begin their school days at 7am, while elementary schools will begin at 3pm.

JEDDAH: Students of all levels are to resume the new school year through remote learning for a period of seven weeks, the Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Shaikh has announced.
The decision was made after coordinated discussions with the relevant authorities as the Kingdom is still confronting the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister said that an exception will be made for university and technical school students with practical curriculums who are required to attend courses in person.
Due to the pandemic, the Kingdom accelerated the e-learning process through its accredited platforms. Virtual classes will be given through Vschool.sa as teachers will be required to attend their virtual classrooms remotely. School curriculums will be provided on the iEN platform, the Kingdom’s national education portal.
The ministry and relevant authorities will assess the situation for the rest of the first semester at the end of the seven weeks and see whether to allow students to return to their classrooms.
According to the ministry, intermediate and high school students will begin their school days at 7am, while elementary schools will begin at 3pm.
The new school year is due to start on August 30, 2020.